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ScaleMaster for Mac OS X targeted to musicians, songwriters

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RoGame Software has released ScaleMaster  for Mac OS X (10.6.6 and higher). It costs US$9.99 and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Music category. Educational discounts as well as a limited number of teacher copies are available.

A good understanding of scales is of particular importance to improvising musicians and song-writers. ScaleMaster addresses the topic in a systematic fashion helping with classification, construction and spelling in all common clefs. Other features include guitar, bass, mandolin and piano instruments, a rating mechanism to indicate favorites among the over 200 listed scales, a chord matching utility and much more.

The master list in ScaleMaster is the base catalog of available scales. Over 200 types are listed and can be sorted alphabetically, by number of scale tones (i.e. pentatonic, hexatonic, etc.) or by rating. The rating system is provided to help remembering favorites and rank usability with up to five stars.

ScaleMaster covers all church modes as derived from major and minor in the classical model but also includes an abundance of other material like pentatonic scales from many styles of world music, a fairly complete set of Indian Ragas, many blues and bebop flavored structures and more.

Notation is essential whenever treating theoretical concepts in music. and the notation view is the centerpiece in ScaleMaster. It displays a scale’s name, classification, rating and notational representation. Scales can be shown in ascending and descending fashion or any combination thereof. Clef choices include bass, treble, alto and bass. Half-tone steps are indicated below the staff and additional display detail includes note names as well as interval to root for all scale tones.

For visualization as well as fingering purposes ScaleMaster features virtual instruments for bass, piano, guitar and mandolin. All instruments allow position shifts and can be played with the mouse. Stringed instruments (bass, guitar and mandolin) can be custom tuned as is common for open tunings for example. Another provision allows for left-handed. Additional display detail includes note names for all scale tones and scale degree or index.

For improvising musicians the relationship between chords and scales is of major importance. This is an area where ScaleMaster can be of assistance to freshen up one’s vocabulary and maybe introduce more colorful and less common choices. The main tool for this is chord matching. ScaleMaster lists over 40 of the most common chord forms that can be selected to filter out scales that don’t match all chord tones. The resulting list of available scales for a particular  chord can then be compared, played to get an idea of their overall flavor and rated.

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